2015 Honorable Mention
Lying drunk and naked in his tent
He sees the blasted rainbow yet again,
Its feeble mud-reflected image meant
To compensate him for the moment when
The elephant protective of her calf,
The single stoat, the extra peccary,
The fearful and immobilized giraffe,
The children reaching, all relentlessly
Lose purchase in a fluid arabesque
Of wave, tusk, head, hand, spray.
Against these blameless in the gray grotesque
He shuts his eyes. He turns his head away.
Against these many unimaginable sounds
He shuts his ears. And it is God who drowns.
The Sequel to As You Like It
It seems now I was happiest in Arden,
teasing Orlando, being boys together,
able to play bird-of-a-different feather
before identities had time to harden.
Of course I’m glad we married in the end
and glad to be in women’s clothes again,
but why can’t he still let me be his friend
and grant that I’m the smart one, now and then?
Celia would say a wife must put aside
romantic love’s illusions and forget
the glamour of the- bridegroom and the bride.
It’s only common sense, I know. And yet
I’ve told my girls about the magic wood.
I hope that soon they’ll run away for good.
Breaux Bridge, LA
Oh, Must We Dream Our Dreams and Have Them, Too?
– Elizabeth Bishop, Questions of Travel
One morning, by design or happenstance,
you know you don’t belong. The nun-black veil
and A-line dress don’t fit. Old dogmas fail
to anchor who you are. Obedience
is not the vow that hurts since you can pray
and walk and work according to the rules
from morning chant until night silence soothes
the steady rhythms of a rigid day.
Nor is it poverty. You know that things
don’t count. But chastity is hard to bear
when your young heart has never learned to share
a passion or a kiss. Take off your ring
and veil. Lay your black dress aside. Unmake
the bed you made and dream yourself awake.
Carolyn A. Martin
Sonnet for a Pool Shark
To break a perfect shape, you smash the thought
of spheres against a plane on which they spin.
The chaos this creates is what you sought—
to lose control is normal—shoot again.
The next time there is no such randomness—
you cannot chalk your misses up to chance.
You have to choose an angle to address—
deflect your slant intentions with a glance.
These thumps and clicks reveal the truth of aim,
or otherwise. The smooth projectiles roll
towards the pockets built into this game
to house the curt trajectories you hole,
and threats of summary endings summon you
to see these strict collisions safely through.
Brad W. Buchanan
Sonnet to Security Cameras
No longer blind, digital justice scans
apportioned vistas with unblinking aim.
Soulless observers log reconnaissance
in service to a program’s narrow frame.
As I trespass the machine’s scrutiny,
I seethe under its prying, constant stare,
and bristle beneath the indignity
of being made binary, unawares.
The ogling, electronic lens thus gawks
like the scolding conscience of a deranged
ego designed to hound, to haunt, to stalk.
Always, by being observed, we are changed.
Stare back at the eye, and the faces it hides,
for they can view you, but can’t see inside.